Toy collecting is an expensive hobby, especially if you’re into the really expensive ones. I should know. I’ve been on and off the hobby for ages. I usually start by getting a single toy and, if it belongs to an actual series, I just have to get the entire set. I was out for a while but I’ve fallen back into the toy collecting biz because, of all things, the latest Transformers film. As much as I hate the Michael Bay Transformers movies, I do love the engineering that goes into the toyline! I’ve already written about this somewhat before on my post regarding the “sugar rush” of toy collecting.
Recently, I’ve “upgraded” and started to collect the Masterpiece Transformers line. I’m not collecting those toys built from flimsy plastic with limited articulation that you can buy at the toy store you can find at the nearest mall. No, sir! I’m collecting those massive chunks of sturdy plastic with die-cast parts, full articulation and great details and accessories. I started with the knock-off cassettes of Soundwave (Rumble, Ravage, Frenzy and Buzzsaw), eventually got myself a Masterpiece Soundwave (with Laserbeak), scrounged around and found the reissue Masterpiece Grimlock from Toys ‘R’ US and finally got myself the Masterpiece Coronation Starscream figure.
The next thing on my list was the Masterpiece Wheeljack figure. Among all of the G1 Autobots, Wheeljack was my favorite. After all, he was smart (he helped invent the Dinobots), transformed into a great looking race car that I never saw before (a Lancia Statos Turbo 5) and his ears would light up whenever he talked! It was the toy I desperately wanted to get but I could never find in toy stores. I don’t even remember seeing any of my richer friends have it as well. When it was announced that they were making a Masterpiece version of my favorite character, I just knew I had to get him!
When Masterpiece Wheeljack’s release date came, I went to my nearest collectible toy store in Greenhills (a mecca for everyone who wants to find really hard to find stuff, including toys) during my lunch break. I asked the lady behind the counter if they had the figure in stock. She asked if I preordered it from them. I hadn’t. She then looked at a box filled with Masterpiece Wheeljack figures and said all the stock they already have is reserved.
I went to the other toy stores in the area and started hunting down for an available one. I didn’t have any luck. Either they didn’t have it yet (still waiting for it to be shipped over) or they were all reserved. This just got me hungrier and it made me want to get one even more. Which leads me to the point of this post. I think the people who preorder these figures are foregoing one of the best parts of toy collecting: the hunt.
Going to various toy stores and going on an actual quest to find the figure that you want is both a painful yet enjoyable part of the process of toy collecting. Let’s focus on the painful part of the experience. There’s this anxiousness in the pit of your stomach whenever you go to the next toy store and ask if they have something you’ve been wanting. There’s this twinge of disappointment you feel pinching your heart when they say they don’t have it in stock. There’s this wave of shock and outrage that washes over you when they say they have it but they’re selling it for an exorbitant price.
Of course, the bright side to actually going on this expedition are all the positive feelings you feel. There’s this rise of excitement and anticipation when they say they have it available. There’s this feeling of elation when they have it at a fair price. The sensation is probably even better if you’re good at negotiation and manage to knock down the price a bit more. I’ve never haggled before but I must imagine it’s a great feeling. And, of course, the feeling of relief, joy and accomplishment once you have the figure you’ve hunted down for so long in your hand.
Now, I’m not trying to knock down preorders. It’s good if you really want to get it as early as it’s released. Stores realize that’s what consumers want. It’s a good way to get a great collection. But, call me old fashioned but I still love travelling to the toy store, not knowing if I’ll leave the area empty handed; my quest a failure. Because the upside, the feeling of great joy of putting a lot of effort and the feeling of accomplishment, outweighs the short term satisfaction of just leaving the store without any struggle.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m going to get my Masterpiece Wheeljack figure sometime this month… after all, I spent the money reserved for it getting the Coronation Starscream. It was worth it!
What’s your take on preorders? Put your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below!